Photos of shark fins hung out to dry outside the living quarters of Chinese workers who built the Sinamalé bridge went viral over the weekend.
The workers were catching the sharks from near the surf spot in Malé’s eastern corner, according to Mohamed Samah, a local surfer who posted the photos and videos Thursday.
Shark fishing was banned in the Maldives in 2010. It is unclear if there has been any action for the violation as neither the fisheries ministry nor the Environment Protection Agency was available for comment.
A police spokesperson was unable to confirm whether a complaint has been lodged.
Police have previously investigated incidents of locals illegally fishing sharks and drying fins for sale.
The Maldives was only the second country to make its territorial waters a shark sanctuary. Partial bans on shark fishing from protected areas were enforced in the early 2000s.
Raalhugadu, the capital’s only surf point, was fenced off for the construction of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge. Living quarters were set up for workers brought in by the Chinese contractor CCCC Second Harbour Engineering, which is to oversee operations and maintenance of the bridge for two years.
Since the surf point reopened in August following the completion of a US$200 million bridge, surfers have also complained about the impact of the bridge construction.
Debris left from the bridge construction is destroying the reef, Maldives Bodyboarding Association warned last month.
Sewage pipes from the living quarters also pump out waste into Raalhugadu, a surfer said.